HUNGARORING -- After four and a half years at Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton says it would be very difficult to leave the team and drive elsewhere when his contract expires at the end of 2018.
Hamilton joined Mercedes at the start of 2013 after six years driving for McLaren, which also supported him through the majority of his junior career. Since moving to Mercedes he has won two of his three world titles, 36 of his 57 grands prix victories and he currently sits second in the drivers' championship, one point behind Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
With one year remaining on his current contract, attention has started to turn to what Hamilton will do at the end of 2018 when he once again becomes a free agent. He recently said he has no plans to join rivals Ferrari and ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix he said it would be incredibly difficult to turn his back on Mercedes.
"It's difficult to say, I am so happy where I am," he said. "I tell you, when I joined this team I couldn't have imagined it being like this and, regardless of our results, it's the environment that I live in.
"I couldn't have dreamed of it being better and I am pretty sure there is no other team that has this environment, I am pretty certain of it. If I was to move, I would have to try and take what we have here and try to implement it somewhere else, but do I really want to do that? There's no real need."
Hamilton listed Williams and Ferrari as two of the teams he admires, but said his association with Mercedes after he retires will always remain special to him.
"Of course I look at other teams that I have admired, I look at Williams and look at how cool it would be to one day drive for Williams and help them get back to the top, but I don't have a crystal ball, I don't know how long that will take or even if that's even possible. It's just that I admire Frank and the Williams team just for its history.
"With McLaren, I have been there and done that and had a great, great experience with them. There's no other team except for Ferrari that could ever be interesting, but right now I love being here, I love the people I work for, the people I work with and what the company represents.
"On top of that, when you're a Mercedes driver, there's no other team in the whole sport that takes care of its drivers like Mercedes does. So to turn your back and leave that behind, that is a really difficult call to make. If I was to jump ship from here, that would be when I stop.
"Mercedes take care of their drivers. Whether it's including them in events, whether it's including them in commercials, you continue to be an ambassador for the brand. And that's the same for every single driver has been, so that's a lot to throw away.''